In spite of what your anxiety might be telling you (or that primal fight-or-flight instinct that overrides logic), flying is the safest, fastest and most efficient mode of transportation out there. It’s also full of quirks that you might not know about. Here are some of those secrets, as told by flight attendants.
1. First, let’s start by giving you some basic statistics about flying. From 2002-2007, over 196,000 people died in car accidents (according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). On the other hand, 107 people died from airplane crashes. To put that into perspective, the odds of you getting involved in a plane accident are 1 in 7 million. If the numbers are just not adding up, here are some things more likely to kill you: cardiovascular diseases (1 in 2), smoking (1 in 600), and lightning strikes (1 in 1.9 million). Flight attendants are aware that some of their passengers are riddled with an aggressive fear of flying. So don’t worry about looking silly because you look nervous! If anything, they can help you relax by offering tips and aids to tune out your surroundings or ride out the worst of the anxiety (for example, wear your seatbelt at all times to avoid bumping your head if there’s any turbulence).
2. This might seem a bit extreme, but if you tire yourself out before a long trip you’ll be more likely to fall asleep on the plane. The best way to do this is to stay up late and do physical work prior to the flight. This is good for people who really need to sleep (to avoid jet lag, for example)
3. If you’re stuck in the multiple connections hell and want a refresher, here’s a tip: most major international airports have showers for passengers travelling this way.Cleaning up and changing your clothes can really change your mood (as well as the way you look, smell and feel). From now on make sure you carry a spare set of clothes when you travel.
4. Now onto the more stressful flight attendant tips. Cabin pressurization is necessary when flying at high altitudes, and there are a lot of mechanics at work to make sure you’re comfortable. When cabin depressurization occurs (which is rarely) you should put your mask right away. You only have seconds before the symptoms of oxygen loss kick in.
5. If you’ve gone through a little bit of a shaky path you’ve probably felt your levels of fear go from 0 to 100 in less than a second. Maybe it’s the anxiety of not knowing how bad it’ll get, but know this: turbulence isn’t bad until bag compartments open and and people bump their heads on the ceiling.
6. If one of the engines catches fire, it will extinguish itself. That’s the beauty of modern mechanics. On top of that, if the fire gets too out of control to extinguish, the engine has a mechanism to detach it from the rest of the plane so it doesn’t affect the wing.
7. Having said that, planes aren’t perfect. Thousands of flights take place every day, all around the world. Like any vehicle that gets used constantly, most airplanes have something broken (either on the inside or the outside). But it’s never big enough to be a safety concern, so don’t worry too much about it.
8. If you’re a germaphobe, you probably want to look away and live in ignorant bliss.Airplane floors are super filthy. Sure, they get vacuumed every now and then, but you can assume that the place you’re sitting is covered in bathroom germs and some trace of bodily fluids. So keep your shoes on, carry some disinfectant wipes and antibacterial liquid.
9. This might make you angry, so take a deep breath and go to a very happy place. If you’re ever transporting something fragile and thought, “I’ll label this with that fragile tape and that way the bag handlers will be careful!” I have bad news. Those bags don’t get any special treatment because the bag handlers aren’t required to do that.
10. Again, my apologies to all the germaphobes reading this. Sometimes when it’s a short flight, planes don’t get a lot of time for a good cleanup (more like an hour). An hour is nearly not enough time to even do a quick cleanup of the whole plane. So again, just pay an extra amount of attention to your surroundings.